This morning we planned for a small hike at Conner Preserve in Land O’Lakes, Florida. We made the mistake of leaving a bit too late. By the time we got to the preserve (around 10:30am), it was much too hot for a stroll in the blazing Florida sun. However, we had already made the drive and figured there would be plenty of shade coverage from the trees.
Unfortunately, the hiking trails were wide and there wasn’t much shade coverage. Although there were a few nice forested views in the distance, the trees weren’t directly on the trail. Due to the hot temps and lack of shade, we only lasted about 3 miles.
Check out the size of these huge spider webs!
The Preserve is a bit confusing with a lack of signs or information. After driving up to a small lot with a locked gate (you will park your car and enter through the pedestrian entrance to the side), you will have to walk several blocks until you reach the first trail sign. There are trail maps; however, the trail markers numbers do not seem to correspond with the numbers on the map.
A pretty pond near the entrance
Trails can be used by hikers, bikers, and equestrians. The trail markers will guide you along the way. Make sure to follow the ones for hiking if you do not have a horse, as some of the trails are meant for equestrians. During our hike, we felt a bit strange as it was completely desolate without a single person in site.
Also, the grass was really high, as opposed to the clean, well-maintained trails that you see at most Florida parks. Portions of the trail consisted of walking through sand, which believe me is more difficult than it sounds!
The trails do not run in a loop, so you have to remember the way you came, which can be a bit confusing when everything looks the same.
A few views along the trail
Conner Preserve was an okay hike at best. The views were just OK, trail markage was bad, and the trails were not maintained well. On the bright side, parking is free (an unusual occurrence in Florida).
According to the preserve’s website, there are 16 hiking only trails, 5.2 miles of equestrian trails, and 12.5 miles of cycling trails.
A few helpful tips if you decide to visit the preserve
*Leave early in the morning! It gets really hot and there isn’t much shade. We felt as if we were walking through the desert.
*Bring plenty of water. There is no water on the trails.
*Wear hiking boots. You will be walking through sand and tall grass with lots of bugs.
*I recommend wearing pants due to the heavy presence of bugs flying and crawling around.
*Wear a hat to help block the intense sun.
Conner Preserve is located at 22500 SR 52 in Land O’Lakes, Florida.